last nov 28, the fears i expressed in one of my posts came true when i had to undergo a minor surgery caused by my right achilles tendon rupturing. however, this did not deter me and DH’s plans to travel to China which was set for the 1st of December. We had very good reasons why we couldnt change the dates for our trip- number 1- changing the dates meant paying charges, and we did not want to pay any more charges. number 2- if we change our dates, we would have to forfeit the Beijing plane tickets we bought for 700 USD. since 1) we weren’t rich and 2) getting time off from work was complete pain in the behind, we decided to just go on the trip and whatever happens, happens.
To avoid any domestic violence during the trip, I discussed with DH that he would have to bear most of the weight (our luggage and me) to which he willingly agreed. He bought me a wheelchair which i used the first time when we went to the airport. It was not a very comfortable chair. We travelled by metro from Discovery Gardens, Jebel Ali to the Airport (which was around 44 km) and when we got there, the airport staff immediately prompted DH to inform the checkin counter that he was travelling with a handicap. That was where we discovered how much of a blessing getting an operation can be.
One of the staff came to meet us with a wheelchair and he escorted us to the front of queues at the checkin counter, immigration, screening, etc right to the boarding gate. there was someone pushing my chair for me right to the door of the plane. i had to hop when i got inside the plane, but still, i was one of the first to board.
i got the same treatment everywhere we went. at the Doha airport, Baiyun airport, Wuhan, Beijing. Made travel a lot easier on me and on DH who was stuck to carrying his backpack and my bag and me.
We also got a lot of assistance at the Metro in China. as soon as one of the staff sees us, they clamor to assist in any way, from finding the right stop to getting on the train. i think the Chinese are not that used to seeing people in wheelchairs. i got a lot of stares from other passengers. i guess its because most of their senior citizens (who are supposedly the ones in wheelchairs) are all strong, practicing taichi in the parks in the mornings. if not tai chi, wushu or some other form of exercise with music. but i barely saw any senior citizen in crutches or in a wheelchair. they all seem to be strong enough to fend for themselves.
in summary, although we were expecting my handicap to be a set back for our trip, it ended up to be a blessing in disguise.